Your fearful child: Are his fears normal or pathological and how do you deal with them?

Your fearful child

Mama, take me with you… I’m afraid to sleep alone.. in a puck in the cupboard… I’m fading out the light of the room… I won’t know how to solve the exam
It seems to some people familiar phrases they hear daily accompanied by sympathy, crying or even anger, sometimes despite our sympathy with our children, we don’t know how to deal with their fears, do we ignore them or force them to face them, is my child a coward, how long will he stay attached to me like my shadow, should I consult a doctor?
Fear is an instinct that is eternal and necessary for survival, embedded in our bodies for thousands of years, and it is passed on to generation after generation as an innate, hereditary system of self-protection, by which children are born, develop with them, and sometimes even protect them from danger; A child who is afraid of fire will avoid approaching it or trying to touch it, but sometimes it goes beyond the normal limits and becomes a pathological condition. Unfortunately, the parents may cause this or unintentionally make it worse. The phrase “I am afraid of…” may be an entrance or exit from a dark tunnel, it all depends on the reaction of the recipient, especially the parents.
Children’s natural fears by age

Crying, screaming, sticking to a parent, and not
The desire to sleep alone is a normal reaction that varies according to age and the nature of the accompanying fears:

  • Babies up to 8-9 months

Newborns are afraid of loud sounds or sudden movements. At the age of 8-9 months, the child can distinguish familiar faces and feel afraid when exposed to a new face, so he cries or clings to his parents.

  • From 10 months to 2 years

It is normal at this age that some children fear separation from their parents, peace at the door of the house or nursery may become a dramatic scene par excellence, a lot of tears, screaming, and attachment to the mother, this is called separation anxiety that the mother may also suffer, so she feels sad and guilt when she leaves the child, especially if affected In the previous scene, separation anxiety may continue after two years, depending on the nature of the child and the parents.

  • 3 to 6 years old

Because they are unable to separate reality from fantasy, especially if the image is scary, children this age’s fears are imaginary, such as fear of monsters, goblins, darkness, masks, or big show dolls at parties and birthdays, and huge animals, as well as fear of loud noises they don’t know their sources Such as lightning, thunder, fireworks, or fear of nightmares.

  • 7 to 12 years old

Fears tend to be realistic at this age, as the child can distinguish between reality and imagination. Instead of the imp, the child fears a thief entering the house or a natural disaster or a terrorist accident, some children suffer from fear of losing a family member or friend, sometimes they are anxious About academic or athletic performance or even the ability to make new friends.
Adolescence

It is characterized by many changes and disturbances on the physical and psychological levels, accompanied by fears about physical changes, social relationships, studies, and the future.
The child doesn’t need to go through all the normal fears at his age in the same order, or for these fears to disappear completely by entering a new age stage, some fears may extend with the child for years or change to new fears, and sometimes the child’s fear provokes a certain influence, such as fear of cats without dogs, for example.
How do you deal when your child feels afraid?

Even if the cause of fear seems illogical or real, the feeling of fear in itself is real and affects the child and controls his behavior. Helping the child face his fears is the best way to overcome them, as well as supporting the child’s ability and independence and giving him a sense of strength.

1 Respect your child’s fears

Contrary to what many people think, ignoring or denying fear makes it exacerbate. Phrases such as: “There is no pet, there is no need to be afraid” do not help the child at all, but rather make him feel guilty along with fear.
Even if you know the answer, ask your child why he is afraid, listen carefully, express your sympathy without exaggerating, and try to comfort him and cuddle him or help him breathe slowly until he calms down.

2 Confidence and creativity help

When talking to your child about his fears, be calm, confident, and creative as well. You can encourage him to express his fear and confront it by drawing or telling stories, or by creating a game or phrase: “I am not afraid.. I can be brave” or even a song to help him cope with the situations that arouse him his concerns.

3 Ladder Technique

Exaggeration in protecting the child and isolating him from everything that raises his fears is no less harmful than forcing him to face the fear without being sufficiently prepared, both of which exacerbate the problem, so what should be done?
The best solution to help a child’s face and overcome fear is to expose him to the situations he fears gradually according to his willingness; Just like climbing the stairs step by step, of course in agreement with the child and taking into account his readiness for each stage.

4 support and patience

Don’t raise your expectations too high and don’t get frustrated quickly. Your child may need more time, try more than one method, or take a step back up the stairs. It helps a lot to provide support, encouragement, and reward as he passes each stage.

5 Content Monitoring

Not isolating the child from the causes of fear does not mean that he is exposed to content that is inappropriate for his age, such as action movies, violent scenes, and even some cartoons with strong effects of terrifying stories.

6 Do not use the weapon of fear

No matter how provocative, out of control, or even dangerous his behavior is, never use intimidation as a tool to discipline your child, and of course, intimidating a child is no laughing matter, most of us probably still remember his mother’s threats to “father of a skinned man” today.

7 Pay attention to your behavior

Obviously, a child would be terrified of insects if the mother was hysterical when seeing a cockroach or refused to go into the pool or ride the elevator if he saw his father expressing concern about one of them. How painful her wisdom tooth extraction experience was, so always pay attention to the reactions and conversations in front of the children.

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